Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bill Moyers | America 101

Again, Bill Moyers lays it out for the nation. The non critical thinkers among us need to pay attention, but will they?
Bill Moyers | America 101: " Rub the crystal ball: In the next few decades, when the huge liabilities start coming in due to Social Security and Medicare, there may be nothing left - less than nothing left - for public needs like education, highways, disaster relief, and social services, let alone national healthcare.

Small wonder that the Wall Street investor, Pete Peterson, a life-long Republican who served as President Nixon's Commerce Secretary, says our children's future is being ruined by a reckless fiscal 'theology.'

Theology asserts propositions that are believed whether or not they meet the test of reality. Not only do our governing elites act as if there's no tomorrow, they behave as if there is no reality. Alas, they won't be around to feel our grandchildren's pain.

In his recent book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed , the Pulitzer-prize winning anthropologist Jared Diamond writes about how governing elites throughout history isolate and delude themselves until it is too late. He reminds us that the change people inflict on their environment was one of the main factors in the decline of earlier societies. For example: the Mayan natives on the Yucatan peninsula who suffered as their forests disappeared, their soil eroded, and their water supply deteriorated. Chronic warfare made matters worse as they exhausted dwindling resources. Although Mayan kings could see their forests vanishing and their hills eroding, they were able to insulate themselves from the rest of society. By extracting wealth from commoners, they could remain well fed while everyone else was slowly starving. Realizing too late that they could not reverse their deteriorating environment, they became casualties of their own privilege.

Any society contains a built-in blueprint for failure, Diamond warns, if elites insulate themselves from the consequences of their decisions. Then he describes an America in which elites have cocooned themselves in gated communities, guarded by private security patrols and filled with people who drink bottled water, depend on private pensions, and send their children to private schools. Gradually they lose their motivation to support the police force, the municipal water supply, social security, and public schools."


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